As We Go Along

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This post isn’t about search. It’s about me.

Six months ago, just before I left for SMX Advanced, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. No big deal – I’ve had it countless times throughout my life. I’ve dealt with asthma for 20 years. I’ve had a nagging cough for at least 5 years. I was a little tired before I left for Seattle, but I picked up my prescription for antibiotics and went on my way.

By the time I left Seattle, I felt awful. Those of you with whom I had dinner the last night of the show may have noticed that I was exhausted, and I wore my jacket throughout the dinner because I was so cold.

When I got home, I went to the doctor, who said I had pneumonia. Long story short, I spent most of July sick. After countless tests, CT scans, and x-rays, I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis.

Needless to say, it was pretty sobering. “Can’t be cured.”

After trying multiple therapies, I now have a percussive vest to help clear my lungs – yes, the same thing they use for cystic fibrosis patients, and the old people in the photos on that website. I’ve got a super heavy medical device that I have to use for 30 minutes, twice a day. I’m halfway through my morning session right now, shaking as I type this.

But this post isn’t a pity party. It’s to say how thankful I am for the blessings in my life. My husband and children, and my extended family, who have all been super supportive. My job, in which I’m blessed to work from home, where I didn’t have to take more than a half day off work during my worst days, because I could sit at my desk at home and rest when I needed to. This industry, which keeps me inspired and engaged, even on days when I’m too tired to do anything but work.

I can still walk and go to the gym. My half marathon days are behind me, but I can still do 5Ks, if at a slower pace than before. I can still play the clarinet and saxophone – in fact, my doctors believe that playing a wind instrument has saved me from being much sicker, due to the expanded lung capacity and the vibrating of the instrument while I play, which mimics the vest and other therapies. I can still travel to conferences, although I may sometimes decline the evening networking to save my energy.

And this came at a good time in my life. I’m established in my career. This would have been a lot harder if I were new to my job. My kids are in their second year of college, living on campus, so I’m not running after little ones, which gives me more time to rest. And I already know how to play the clarinet. 🙂

I’m grateful for my friends in this industry, who have cheered me on and commiserated with me over the years. I love that although we’re spread out all over the world, we’re just a tweet away and can chat with one another about PPC challenges.

So if I miss a week of blogging here and there, now you know why. I’ll leave you with a favorite song by the Monkees, As We Go Along. There’s still so much to do in the sunlight.

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  1. David Szetela says

    Melissa, I’m so sorry to hear this, but I’m glad your attitude and position in life are making it somewhat easier.

  2. Hey Melissa,
    This is not what I was expecting when I clicked the link on Twitter. These days everything seems to be about politics. I guess, there’s more…

    I looked up bronchiectasis, but I can’t say I fully comprehend what this must mean for you. Not being as fit as before must be hard, and having to have two sessions with the vest each day can’t be fun. But it sounds like you’re at a good place otherwise and you have the right attitude. That might make all the difference.

    Cured or not, I hope you get better. But more important: don’t let it drag you down.

    All the best,


    • Melissa Mackey says

      Thank you so much! Yeah I’m guilty of sharing a bunch of political stuff so I guess I deserved that. 😀 I am in a good place – I’m much better off than many with this condition, who are frequently hospitalized, etc. I’m grateful I can mostly do what I was doing before. Appreciate your kind words.

  3. Hi, Melissa. Thank you for sharing this concern with your readers. We will pray that you keep your positive spirit and, when the going gets tough, you keep going!

  4. Your spirit, energy, intelligence, humor and friendship are forces for good in this world. So sorry to hear news of your physical constraints and will pray for healing of your body, and continued strength of your spirit and mind. Like you, I find that music can make every day a joyful one – despite limitations. Love to you, Melissa.

  5. Karen Henry says

    This b!tch bronchiectasis could not have chosen a tougher, more determined opponent! Thank you for sharing your news and your uplifting outlook regarding this diagnosis. Gratefulness is powerful. Looking forward to seeing you SOON!

  6. Heather Halls says

    You’re an inspiration my friend. Yes, I had no idea! Thank you for sharing!!! You take it all in stride and nobody would have ever known. You’re always a bundle of energy! Love and hugs to you always my friend! Go Green!!! 🙂 🙂

  7. Lisa Sanner says

    Melissa – I had no idea you were dealing with all this. You are a strong, smart lady that has earned so much respect in our “small world” industry – BTW that’s not “pity party” talk, that’s just truth. We often don’t know what’s going on “in the background” of friends lives who we just assume everything is “hunky dory, when it’s often not the case. So thank you for sharing.

    I’m sorry to hear you are hurting but glad you are taking your health seriously and doing what you need to do. My MO is always the oxygen mask theory – take care of self so that you can take care of others that you care about. Getting older and slowing down is a b!t@h when you don’t feel that way. I can relate to that. 🙂
    Hugs from WA!

    • Melissa Mackey says

      Thank you my friend! It is hell getting old, isn’t it? 🙂 The oxygen mask saying is my mantra as well – that’s why I wrote this post. I’ve had to back out of things and got tired of not telling people why.

  8. Jan Palmer says

    Melissa, I commend you for speaking out about your condition and no, it is NOT a pity party. You enlightened those of us who love and admire you in what you are dealing with on a daily basis. But there is hope. Hope in the advancements in the medical field, new procedures and meds. But most of all there is hope in our mighty Savior who is a God of miracles. He will see you through the bad days and give you joy always!! Love you !!!

  9. Frank Salvatore says

    Hi Melissa. Very sorry to hear the news. I’m a regular reader (although I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented before). There are many more like me I’m sure who appreciate the hard work you put into Beyond the Paid and are wishing you the best. Hopefully the vest and other treatments turn out to be highly effective for you.

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